If you’re driving a modern car, then you are driving one of the safest forms of transportation available. Car manufacturers continue to bring innovations to the field, looking for ways to make the cars safer on the road. That means that your car has a number of safety features built directly into its design. Here are some of those safety features and what you need to know about them.
The airbag has been standard in cars since the late 1990s. They provide cushioning in a collision that has the potential to save lives. Airbags deploy when crash sensors detect a frontal collision and allow them to fill. They inflate in less than a second, then immediately start to deflate, providing cushion just long enough to protect the car’s occupants from the collision.Airbags are found in the front of the vehicle on almost every vehicle. Some vehicles also have side-impact airbags. These deploy to cushion the rider’s torso from impact on the side of the vehicle in a crash. An additional option – side curtain airbags – is included in many vehicles as well. This type will deploy from above the windows to cover the rear and side windows, protecting the occupants from head injury and flying debris.Airbags are a critical safety feature of the modern car, but they have one major potential drawback. The fast speed at which they deploy makes them incredibly dangerous for children who are not quite tall enough to receive the benefit. In fact, children, and occupants who aren’t using their seatbelts can be killed by an airbag, which is why kids under the age of 12 need to sit in the rear of the vehicle. This risk is for front airbags only, not side or side curtain airbags.
- Antilock Brakes
All modern vehicles have antilock brakes (ABS), which prevent the breaks from locking the wheels when the driver brakes hard. ABS places sensors at each wheel that send signals to a computer to maximize the braking action at each wheel individually. This causes some pulsing of the brakes, which can alarm drivers, but is completely normal in a hard braking scenario.
- Traction and Electronic Stability Control
Traction control limits the amount of times the wheel of the car spins when the river is accelerating, this creating the maximum traction. This can help the car when starting on wet or icy roads, or when starting with a high-horsepower engine. They may tap into the ABS to brake a spinning wheel and drive power to the opposite wheel.Many vehicles take the idea of traction control farther with the addition of electronic stability control. This keeps the vehicle driving on its intended path while turning, so it doesn’t slide or skid, using sensors to measure the angel and speed of the wheels, sending a signal to the brakes when needed to keep the car on its intended path.These systems run automatically, but some drivers will notice the changes to the feel of the car as they drive when these systems engage. Adapting to this change doesn’t take long once the driver realizes that the little pulses are a normal part of the vehicle’s operation.
- Safety Belts and Tethers
The seatbelts in your car are one of its most important pieces of safety equipment. Today’s seatbelts do more than just strap you in. they also have additional features that help improve their use.Seatbelts are equipped with pretensioners. These will take up the slack when you’re in a frontal crash, so you are held in the right position and maize the risk of injury. Modern seatbelts often have adjustable upper anchors for the shoulder belts, which can help position the seatbelt properly on the individual to reduce the risk of serious injury from the pressure of the seatbelt. Some cars even have inflatable rear seatbelts that spread the force of the seatbelt over a larger area on a small child’s body.To ensure that people are using seatbelts properly, most modern vehicles have alarms and alarm lights that go off when one of the front occupants is not properly belted. This is one area where the seatbelt can have problems sometimes the sensor goes awry and sets off its alarm when no one is in the seat or the seat belt is, in fact, buckled. Turning the car off and back on again can often fix this problem.
Today’s vehicles now have a new system for child safety seats known as the LATCH system. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. These tethers are attachment points for straps that modern car seats and boosters contain, improving the accuracy of car seat installation, while also making it a bit easier for parents to properly and safely install the car seat.
- Brake Assist Technology
A new player in the car safety market is brake assist technology. This technology can detect when a driver stops in a panic and assist the car by applying maximum force to the breaks. This, in conjunction with the car’s anti-lock brakes, helps create the shortest possible stopping distance. Most of the time, drivers have no idea the brake assist is operating.
- Forward Collision Warning and Blind Spot Warning
These warning systems use cameras, sensors, lasers, or radar to scan for problems ahead of or beside the car, then alert the driver if they are at risk of a crash. A visual and audible signal will alert the driver in time for them to react. In the case of blind spot warning signals, these devices use a light or icon on the outside mirror to warn of a vehicle in the car’s blind spot, and will alert the driver to the hazard if the driver turns on the turn signal to indicate a lane change.
- Backup Cameras
Backup cameras give drivers a rear view of what is behind their vehicles. These systems are activated as soon as the vehicle goes in reverse, giving the driver a view of the rear of the vehicle on the navigation screen. This can show those areas that are hidden to the naked eye and decrease the risk of backing over someone or something.
What Safety Features Should You Add?
Today’s vehicles have quite a number of safety features built in, but what could you add to make your vehicle even safer? If you have an older vehicle, what could you upgrade to increase its safety?
Backup cameras, blind spot warning systems and forward-collision warning systems are something you can add to an older car or a car that doesn’t have one. While it may seem complicated, and these systems are expensive, they aren’t that difficult to install with the help of a good mechanic. You can also add seatbelts to an older car that wasn’t originally manufactured with them, and these aftermarket seatbelts have many of the same safety features of modern ones. Other safety features, like ABS and airbags, have to be built into the car and can’t be added after market.
Yes, today’s cars are quite safe, and you can take and older car and add some safety features to it as well. If safety is your priority on the road, rest assured that your car has your needs covered well.